"The birthday of the world..."
BLESSING FOR THE NEW YEAR
Most people think that they rarely pray, but when was the last time you said to someone, "Have a great day!" or "I hope you feel better soon..." When was the last time you were watching a game and shouted out for your favorite team? These are all very simple and subtle forms of prayer.
This time of year we wish each other "Shanah tovah," which also seems like a very simple prayer for a "good year." However the root letters of the Hebrew word for "year" shanah, bring two paradoxical meanings. Shanah is related to the Hebrew word for "change" leshanot, but it is also related to the word mishneh which means "repeat." So what exactly are we praying for when we say the words, "Shanah tovah," good change or good repetition?
Perhaps the answer is both. When we say the words "Shanah Tovah" we can bring the intention that this will be a good year of both change and repetition. I pray for a "Shanah Tovah" for all my new friends of Torat Yisrael. This year may we have the courage to "change" bad habits and replace them with good ones. May we also have the strength to "repeat" the good habits that worked last year so that we will truly have a Shanah Tovah!
Nights are getting cooler, the cicadas are whirring faster and louder to a crescendo, the red maples are all aflame, backpacks are bursting with books, big yellow buses are popping up everywhere with their stop lights flashing, and gusts of autumn wind are picking up swirls of newly fallen leaves. The old year is falling away and decomposing into fertile soil for the new seeds of 5775! Yes, “The Days of Awe” are coming … Or as I like to call them “The Days of Awesomeness!” If you close your eyes you can almost hear the shofar crying, “Wake up! It’s time to come home!” On the new moon of Rosh Hashanah we will gather at Torat Yisrael to renew and re-Jew! Late in the afternoon of the second day ...
Rabbi Aaron Philmus
Rabbi Aaron brings a traditional style and approach of prayer to the conservative synagogue. He has a background in ecology and Jewish education and teaches Torah through agriculture and wilderness skills, and plays guitar as a way to bring music to the synagogue. He’s a naturalist who believes that everything stems from nature, and he understands the plight of others who are less fortunate, and how to use the land to enrich ourselves.